Monday, October 21, 2019

Socrates Cafes: College-Older Adult Partnerships (Research, Video 3:08)

Memories I have of  great intergenerational experiences include time I spent with my great grandmother. I don’t recall any profound statements she made, but I do know that she listened intently to what I said, and I had plenty to say. Growing up in a Jim Crow world of racial segregation where every day was a reminder of my unimportance to the larger society, I believe her loving listening told me I mattered. She is the reason I have been a strong proponent of intergenerational partnerships during my many years as an educator. 

Intergenerational research on children and older adults reports that benefits of these partnerships are reaped by all ages involved. Among positive examples of impact include children's improved perceptions of the elderly and improved well-being and self-esteem of older adults. But what about research on intergenerational partnerships between college aged students and older adults? Intergenerational research again reports the win-win benefits of both parties.

Socrates Cafes are examples of effective intergenerational experiences that include social connections. They are facilitated discussions suited for bridging generation gaps and inviting self-expression. They can be held anywhere people gather and share perspectives. In a researched Socrates Cafe approach used with college students and low-income older adults, findings included reduced ageism and stereotyping from students, the formation of relationships between students and older adults, and a recognition from older adults that they had valuable insights to share with younger generations. In the Socrates Café video blow, Christopher Phillips explains the magic of Socrates Cafe gatherings. 

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog

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